Due to the ‘long, cold, windy, extreme amounts of snow, and just miserable’ conditions this winter, all landscape operators need to be aware of what could await them in the landscapes.
The condition of many ornamental plants and also the turf may surprise you, due to those miserable conditions. It is time, while crews are beginning to work in the field, to take a quick and thorough inventory of the plant material. Your customers may need a heads up to what awaits them.
In my recent travels to areas in the Midwest, I have come across many winter issues in the landscapes. The most noticeable issue has been the ‘winter burn’ of many of the plants that hold their leaves or needles through winter; examples are holly, boxwood, azalea, and all conifers. There will also be many issues with ornamental plantings that are not usually suited for this region of the country and may not have survived the winter conditions; examples are magnolia shrubs, butterfly bush, etc. I also noted many areas that have salt damage in turf and landscape beds due to the vast amounts used this past winter season.
The take from all this: where plant damage has occurred, an early and possibly extreme pruning will have to take place. Also, we need to be thinking about a well-balanced fertility program, implemented for recovery. Obviously, for those plants that didn’t escape the wrath of winter, replacement! Finally, in those areas of salt damage, a dose of enhanced gypsum should clean up the leftover salt residue.